Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Myanmar - Day 4 - Bagan

On day 4 we got up early and headed for the city of Bagan. This started with another boat ride through Inle Lake and a chance to observe the residents going about their business.

As you can see, people are wearing jackets because of the chilly weather. Interestingly, actually maybe it isn't surprising given the watery environment, they are all wearing thong sandals or are barefoot.

In some respects Myanmar is a land that time forgot. It as if nothing has changed since the British left in 1948. That, of course, isn't literally true but the infrastructure is definitely lagging many of the other Southeast Asia countries.

This scale was in use on the other airline at the airport. After they load up the scale the guy shouts out the reading to the woman behind the desk. She writes it down and then adds it up. Hey, what can possibly go wrong. Let's hope they are weighing the baggage to calculate the fare - not whether the plane can get off the ground.

The waiting room was pretty basic. No real security, just a cursory metal detector inspection. I beeped so I took my cell phone out of my pocket, showed it to the guy and then was waved through.

Walk out the door of the waiting room and you can help the guys push the baggage cart around if you want.

Bagan was the center of Myanmar culture and economy from the 11th century through the 13th Century. During this time over 10,000 religious monuments were built. Over 2200 remain today and new ones are continuing to be built. These happen to be new ones. They were next to the restaurant parking lot. I understand one of these was built by a family from Yangon about 25 years ago.
Woman carving design into lacquerware

After lunch we stopped by a lacquerware factory to have a look. It is one of the traditional crafts of the Bagan area. The design is scratched into the base coat and pigment colored lacquer is added to lines. A protective coat is added then the process repeated for other colors.

This guy is forming rings of bamboo that will end up as cups or bowls. He uses the knife in his lap to split the bamboo. Once the bowls are formed they will go through the lacquering process.

This guy is working in the finishing area.

The first temple we visited was the Myauk Guni temple.
That Byin Nyu Temple in the center and Shwesandaw Pagoda to the left

This is That Byin Nyu Temple in the center and Shwesandaw Pagoda to the left.
Dhammayan Temple

This is Dhammayangyi Temple. It was built in 1170 A.D. The king who commissioned it was assassinated near the end of its construction and it was never finished. It is the largest in Bagan.

Here are another set of temples near to Myauk Guni.

This is one of those "man bites dog" stories. Usually the tourists are pestering the monks for pictures. Apparently the monk was very taken by this tourist and asked her to pose for him.

After a brief rest at the hotel we returned to Shwesandaw Temple to watch the sun go down. It was really an amazing scene. Everywhere you look on the Bagan plain you see these temples beautifully lit by the setting sun.

Click to enlarge.

As the sun finally set you could see many temples and stupas silhouetted against the sky.

Almost gone.

Here we are with the sunset in the background.

This is the same time of day but you wouldn't know it from the exposure. The crowd has pretty well cleared out by the time I took this picture. We were up on the next to the top row.

People aren't using the handrails because they are safety conscious. They are using them because the steps are darn steep and a little scary.

There are links to the other Myanmar posts in the Blog Archive section to the right near the top in case you missed any.

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